Peanut and hazelnut occurrence as allergens in foodstuffs with precautionary allergen labeling in Canada

The latest publication from the PARERA team, reporting on one of the largest food allergen occurrence surveys conducted in Canada has been published. Over 860 samples were tested for peanut and hazelnut markers, with the majority of products (72%) having an Allergen Precautionary Labelling (PAL). Food products targeted in this survey were among those reported to have more common occurrence of these allergens (including undeclared occurrence) and  included chocolate, cookies, cereal products, and a variety of baked goods. Up to 5 lots of the same product were procured for this survey. Although instances of occurrence (5% of products tested for peanut and 9% for products tested for hazelnut) and levels reported of these allergens in the targeted products with a PAL were found to be low, allergic reactions can not excluded if products bearing a PAL were consumed by allergic individuals. Questions remain as to whether some of these statements could have haven avoided on the labels of some products meaning whether they resulted from a proper risk assessment taking into account manufacturing conditions, or whether they are part of a common (blanket) practice, which leads to restricted choice for allergic consumers.